Podium: The Devil is making a take-over bid

From a speech by the president of the Conservation Foundation to the London Churches Conference on the Environment

AS WE approach the year 2000 AD we may hear much talk about interfaith, various faiths in unity, but conversions is still the battle cry of most of the religions and most of branches of those religions.

Their aim, though couched in terms of salvation for the world, is really about more power to the specific beliefs, corporate dogma of that specific branch, eventual world domination, domination bathed in the blood of one crusade after another. Crusades now policed by the so called United Nations.

Sadly there is no getting away from the fact that religion is causing severe unrest and social dislocation across the world. It appears to have lost its way, or for those of us who believe in one true spiritual being, the devil is making a highly successful take over bid.

If the Son of God returned to earth in the year 2000 he would not only shudder at the unholy mess that has been perpetrated in his name, he would also find the moneylenders hard at work, especially in the temples of creation.

At a recent meeting organised by HRH Saddrudin Aga Khan to discuss the policing of that other form of globalisation "the Economy", the following statement taken from the 1 February 1996 edition of the Herald Tribune was again put on record.

"Economic globalisation is causing severe economic dislocation and social instability. The technological changes of the past few years have eliminated many more jobs than they have created; the competition that is part and parcel of globalisation leads to winner-take-all situations, those who come out on top win big and the losers lose even bigger; higher profits no longer mean more job security and better wages, but rather globalisation tends to delink the fate of the corporation from the fate of the employees."

If these words had been spoken by an ageing environmental campaigner, then perhaps you could be forgiven for taking little notice.

They were, however, from the pens of Klaus Schwab and Claude Smadja, representatives of the World Economic Forum. Doyen of the Davos Culture with a membership of the world's 1,000 largest global corporations. They are worried about the state of the world they have created.

Over 70 per cent of the world's population is still attempting to live in villages, growing its own food and fuel from its own lands.

As Sir James Goldsmith said of these people before his death, "they do not figure in the so called global economy for there is no way that the stock exchanges can benefit from their existence."

The same is of course not true of these people's lands, so as an excuse to get them out of the sustainable life cycle and into the unsustainable job cycle they are persuaded to grow so-called cash crops on their land.

Cash for the shareholders of the multinationals, starvation for those who don't get a job as a grease monkey or part-time worker in the packing factory.

I challenge any member of any faith who has any sense of the abiding spirituality of creation within their souls to find solace in a world in which the rich get richer at the expense of the poor getting poorer.

A world where every day the richest one third of the so-called human population throws away more resources than the poorest two thirds have access to. A world in which every day 100,000 people die prematurely of malnutrition and environmental pollution as a similar number are forced to leave their home lands and head for the promise of the throw-away society. A long march to cities that are not paved with gold but engulfed in end- of-the-road shanty towns.

If tempted to think that it is just a passing phenomenon of the developing world, why are 100,000 young men sleeping rough on the streets of Britain's towns and cities and why did 500 of them commit suicide last year?

Why? Well I can only conclude that it is because we are losing touch with the spirituality of creation, replacing it with the arrogance of self importance - so much so that one in 10 of all the plants and animals which like us are a product of creation and upon which our past, present and future depends are facing extinction.

Two thousand years since the birth of Christ, what better time to admit our shortcoming and absolve our many sins of the past by becoming part of the true spirituality of creation.

The way ahead is to take up the cross of Soulship, the only way to work God's purpose, and move the living world towards a sustainable future.

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